Kelly A. Borgerding ’13

 Serum Vitamin D Status in a Division III Football Team

Athletes who train indoors are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency than those who engage in outdoor sports. Athletes with less than optimal serum vitamin D have increased risk of injury (1).

Purpose: To determine the vitamin D status of an outdoor sport in late fall.

Methods: Research was approved by the Institutional Review Board and informed consent was received from all subjects. Twenty- two players from a Division III football team aged 18-22 were recruited.  Data collection was held in mid- November. Subjects completed 3 day food logs recording the amount of food and beverage intake. Researchers recorded weight, height, waist circumference, blood pressure, and a blood sample for blood lipids (total cholesterol (TC), high density lipoprotein (HDL), low density lipoprotein (LDL), and triglycerides (TG)) and vitamin D were measured. An ELISA 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D assay was used to determine serum vitamin D.

Results: Ninety percent of the football players had inadequate serum vitamin D levels; average serum vitamin D was 56 ± 26 nmol/L (optimal > 75 nmol/L). Vitamin D deficiency (< 50 nmol/L) was present in 10 of 22 subjects (2). The average dietary vitamin D consumption was 12 mg (± 11 mg) which did not meet the RDA recommendation of 15 mg for men age 18 - 50. Only 27% met the RDA (n = 6) for vitamin D and one had optimal serum D; 73% failed to obtain the RDA and again only one had an optimal serum D.  Statistical analysis was conducted using the Pearson correlation. Serum vitamin D did not correlate with total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, TG, weight, BMI, fasting blood glucose or blood pressure. However, serum vitamin D negatively correlated with waist circumference (r = -0.438, p = 0.4). Dietary vitamin D did not correlate with serum vitamin D.

Conclusion: Despite being outdoor athletes, 45% were vitamin D deficient by mid-November. Meeting the RDA for vitamin D did not ensure adequate serum vitamin D levels, so to avoid the risk of injury, these athletes should consider beginning a vitamin D supplement in the fall.

•1.     Peeling, et. al. (2013) International Journal of Sports Medicine, 34, 248-252. 

•2.     Galan, et. al. (2012). Clinical Nutrition, 31, 132-136. 

Kelly Borgerding was intending to present his research at the Northland Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine but the conference was cancelled due to weather.

To view Poster, click on link below:
Serum Vitamin D Status in a Division III Football Team

Research Advisor: Amy Olson, PhD, RDN, LD and Manuel Campos, PhD, Biology